Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Outstanding in Its Field

A previous, post A House is Not a Home , showed some old houses visible from our back road travels along the VA eastern shore. This post features a couple of houses we see every time we drive to the county library travelling the back road vs. Route 13.

This four-square house stands abandoned surrounded by fields that were once farmland. Four-square construction is described as solidly built, but the architecture is considered unimaginative. A foursquare has a square footprint  and was the style of many farmhouses.

house in field030811 (1)A four-square house is characterized by a basically square, boxy design, two and one half stories high, usually with four large, boxy rooms to a floor and a center dormer. Other common features of four- square construction include a hipped roof and arched entries between common rooms. The layout was simple. The first floor consistedfarmhouse chancetown 1006 of a dining room, living room, kitchen and foyer punctuated by a center hall leading upstairs to four bedrooms and a bathroom. The bathroom was usually located between the bedrooms on one side of the house while the stairway separated the other two bedrooms on the opposite side. Some models included a bathroom on the first floor. The top floor was a large open space with one to four dormers punctuating the roofline.

Back to the house first shown in this post. A closer look shows that a new roof and dormer were put on, perhaps in an attempt to save the house from deterioration by the weather.

house in field030811 (2)house in field030811 (3)Stickers are visible on the windows of the new dormer.

But no other obvious repairs can be seen and the elements can freely enter through the house’s open windows. In time, it will most likely completely deteriorate.

Here’s a different place along the same back road – a building that has completely collapsed.

house collap[se030811 (2)

Here’s from another view in B&W and same view in color.

house collap[se030811 (5)house collap[se030811 (1)


Lois Evensen said...

It's amazing how such places are left to decay as Mother Nature reclaims them and the land around them. Interesting post.

Naturedigital said...

It is a pity to see the beautiful houses abandoned and falling apart.
Have a great weekend Beatrice.

Elaine said...

Strange how they put on a new roof and dormer window in and left the rest alone and seemingly then walked away. The second place is sad, but it makes for good photos. Good information on the four-square houses.

Anonymous said...

Over here they rather let the houses fall apart totally than to sell them cheap. That first house could probably be repaired to a not to high cost since the roof is that good! But who can afford that when the economy is like it is now days.

Have a great day now!

Anvilcloud said...

How odd: newish roof and windows and naught else.

possum said...

The "new roof and dormer" were put on about 15-20 years ago... Lots of activity, lots of promise... then nothing. Sometimes tragedies strike - and no one else picks up the ball.
Life happens. So does death.
Sadly, this is one of those houses that would cost more to rehab than to tear down and start from new. The old roof was full of holes - the new one saved the building - but for what? A monument to sadness.

Snapper II said...

Great photos of the house on top. That looks like a new roof, so it is dry. there is a posability some one is refurbishing it. They may live on the top floor or attic with plans to work as funds are available. I sure hope they succeed.

Sandra said...

my dad's childhood home is exactly like the first house in your post. i have a photo of my grandmother standing in the door, the door is in the same spot. i love these old four squares, and think the were and are beautiful. when they built these they built them to LIVE in not for SHOW to the neighbors or others to covet. great post really enjoyed it. wish this was on the way to my library

grammie g said...

HI Beatrice...quite interesting that there was a new roof and dormer done?????
Sort of reminds me of a person with a health problem that with surgery starts to improve and then suddenly dies!! "Grime illustration huh"!!lol
That style of house was quite popular in my grandparents home town of Princeton Me.
Great post B.

Montanagirl said...

These old homes have such personality and character. It's sad to see them drift away on the breezes of time.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

We agree folks that it is sad to see these once-proud homes deteriorate. As you said, ELAINE, they provide perhaps even better great photo opportunities in their deteriorating states.

Thanks, POSSUM for the background on the first house. I had no clue that the roof renovations has been done so many years ago. Maybe at one time, the windows were covered up as well since it was so long ago.

As I said in the post, there are many examples of four-square homes in this area and many other parts of the coutry as SANDRA and GRAMMIE G noted. Perhaps a future post will include some that are in good shape still today. Glad you enjoyed a bit of the history on this style architecture. I learned new stuff too.

L. D. Burgus said...

I bet they are going to restore that house. Starting from the top makes sense and they will work down as they go. Interesting post. My wife's birthplace was an atypical four square. The messed with the floor plan and it had do bathroom.

The Retired One said...

Wow. I always wonder about the history of houses like this..the family stories, etc.

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